Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finding the Essence

The art of nature photography can be a daunting task. You are surrounded by a world of exciting visual material - animals, plants, objects, land, water, sky as well as their abstract components of colour, shape, line and texture. In addition there are the non-visual elements such as sounds, smells, wind, warmth, cold, damp, dry - all of which contribute to your total experience when you are immersed in nature. Then there is the internal environment of our beings, our feelings and thoughts from one moment to the next. When you place your eye to the viewfinder all this is rendered down into a strictly-bounded, two-dimensional frame in which you try to depict what you see and, more importantly, what you feel in that moment. For those who have truly tried to do this, you know it is not easy.

It's also inescapably subjective. It has been said that you are in every image you make. Each one is autobiographical. This is because the way you choose to frame an image, select its content and set its boundaries, is such a personal thing. During our tours and workshops I am often with other photographers, both professional and amateur, at the same place, in the same light, at the same time, each of us with high quality gear and perhaps similar skill. But when we share our images afterwards, it's surprising how different they are. Each eye chose a different way to frame the scene or subject.